Photo: Belmont incinerator site on upper Concord Avenue.
Not all milestone events need to accompanied by fireworks or proclamations. Some go by nearly unnoticed.
And one such “quiet” moment occurred this week when the state formally handed over the site of the former town incinerator to Belmont, nearly a year after the process began.
Phyllis Marshall, the interim town administrator, told the Belmont Board of Selectmen on Monday, May 22 the state’s Department of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance – responsible for disposing of state-owned property – recorded the transfer of the deed to the town at the South Middlesex Registry of Deeds on May 17.
The 16-acre property is adjacent to upper Concord Avenue and the Rock Meadow Conservation about 1,500 feet from the Lexington town line. Built in 1959, the incinerator operated until 1975, then becoming the town’s transfer station for decades before the state took control of the land.
The Belmont DPW currently utilizes the site for equipment storage, leaf composting and the placement of debris.
In January 2014, former Gov. Deval Patrick signed legislation sponsored by State Rep. Dave Rogers authorizing the sale of the state-owned land to the town at a “fair market value.” An important provision of the transfer is future uses of the land is limited to recreational or municipal purposes; it can not be sold or leased for commercial or business operations.
But before the land can be developed, the town must first construct a mitigation plan to remediate the site of contaminated soil and ground water which could include removing or “capping” the soil polluted by ash produced in the burning of garbage.
Marshall told the Belmontonian on Monday 2016, the town has $3.5 million as of fiscal 2016 in a reserve account to clean up the property.
After a blueprint is approved by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection and the remediation work completed, the town can move forward on the land’s future.
In November 2014, the Selectmen met with Town Meeting members and the public on possible uses for the former incinerator which included a solar “farm,” sports fields, open space and a future home for Police headquarters or DPW.